Tag Archives: F/A-18A

Doesn’t Everyone Have a Hornet by the Front Door?

When deciding on what garden furniture to have, there are many options.  You could have some garden gnomes, maybe a stone lion, all sorts of possibilities.  Most of these are because most people don’t have access to a fast jet.  If you do, and the California Science Center does, you’d stick a Hornet outside the front door.  It was in the shade from the building in the morning I was there, but I thought it provided just the right amount of gravitas.

RCAF Hornet Tests High ISO Performance

The later stages of the Abbotsford Air Show included a performance by the RCAF CF-188A Hornet.  By the time it was performing, the light was pretty much gone.  The late performance has some benefits in that the burners are more striking against a darker sky, but the RCAF display often ends with a landing with the hook lowered.  I had seen this before at Chino and the same problem as happened there occurred here.  The touchdown point was a long way away from the spectator line, so it was too far away to get a decent shot.

However, there was the rest of the display to go for.  My current cameras seem very able to handle low light conditions.  The focus might be a touch slower or less accurate as the light diminishes but I wasn’t noticing a significant problem.  Also, the high ISO capabilities of current generation cameras are really impressive so shooting in such conditions is not necessarily a problem.  The camera will be able to perform although that won’t compensate for a jet just not looking that good with so little light.  You still have to pick your shots.

The Hornet is a good display jet with the ability to point the nose in different directions rapidly and to pull a decent amount of vapor from the air.  It can turn and it can blast through, so it makes for a good show.  Original generation Hornets are starting to become a rarity.  It won’t be long before the Canadian jets have been replaced by F-35s.  Other operators have already transitioned and more will follow.  Catch the legacy Hornets while you can and, preferably, in interesting lighting conditions.

Lancaster Jets On Sticks

My friend, Paul, had advised me that Lancaster CA had a couple of aircraft on poles that were worth a look.  One is a retired Air Force test F-4 that sits at a busy intersection next to a rail station.  The other is a NASA F/A-18A that is at the entrance to a baseball stadium.  I decided to try and photograph both one evening when the light would be most favorable.

The guys hanging out near the F-4 looked a little perplexed as I drove up and started photographing this plane on a pole.  I think they didn’t see the interest in it that I did.  I think I attracted a few strange glances and I grabbed some shots and then headed back to the car.  The Hornet at the baseball stadium was a different story.  Not too many people around at that time so I took some shots and then headed off.  There was one more target of interest but that would have to wait for a morning visit.